Glenn Close's Viral "Da Butt" Academy Awards Dance Was Scripted

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Grant Rindner
·3 min read
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Photo credit: ABC - Getty Images
Photo credit: ABC - Getty Images

In 1988, Experience Unlimited's "Da Butt" became a surprise radio hit right around the time Glenn Close was establishing herself as an A-list star with roles in Fatal Attraction and Dangerous Liaisons. The two surprisingly intersected at the 93rd Academy Awards, when comedian Lil Rel Howery asked Close, who was nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category for Hillbilly Elegy, if she knew the song. She responded with a lively dance and an impressive bit of knowledge of its origin.

During the segment, Howery and Questlove asked attendees whether they recognized classic film songs and if they had been nominated in the Best Original Songs category. The segment began with another memorable moment, in which Howery quizzed Andra Day on whether or not Prince's "Purple Rain" had been nominated—she correctly answered (through some censored bleeps), that it hadn't been.

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Per reporting from the Los Angeles Times, the viral moment between Close and Howery was scripted. Still, the dance was a big enough hit online for people to joke that Close deserved an Oscar for the interaction itself.

"It's 'Da Butt,' I know that. 'Da Butt' was a classic song by the great Washington, D.C. go-go band E.U. Shoutout to Sugar Bear and the whole backyard band and the whole DMV," Close said. "Spike Lee had it written for his brilliant movie School Daze."

Now that "Da Butt," and Glenn Close, are trending, here's what you should know about the '80s hit and the acting legend who danced to it in such a spirited fashion.

"Da Butt" became a hit thanks to Spike Lee's School Daze.

Spike Lee's School Daze, inspired in part by his time studying at Morehouse College, was released in 1988 and became a commercial success. The film, which starred Laurence Fishburne, Giancarlo Esposito, and Tisha Campbell, told the story of life at the fictional Mission College, specifically covering anti-apartheid protesting, Greek life, and student social dynamics.

Music in the film was handled by Spike's father, the jazz musician and composer Bill Lee, but the soundtrack featured a number of different artists, including The Morehouse College Glee Club. The biggest hit from the School Daze record was Experience Unlimited's "Da Butt," an infectious go-go song penned and produced by jazz great Marcus Miller.

Founded in Washington, D.C., Experience Unlimited (E.U.) was a funk band that has released seven studio albums and three live records, though "Da Butt" remains their biggest hit. At the 2019 BET Awards, host Regina Hall performed the song with E.U. member Sugar Bear.

Sugar Bear even reacted on Twitter to the Glenn Close moment.

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"Man, I am truly honored and blessed for the recognition from the one and only Glenn Close. I love it," he said.

Close also made Oscar history on Sunday.

With her eighth nomination, Close has tied the late Peter O'Toole for the most acting award nods without a win. Hillbilly Elegy was her fourth nomination for Best Supporting Actress, and her first in the category since 1984's The Natural.

She has also received four Best Actress nods, most recently for The Father in 2019, which some pundits thought would be her long overdue victory. In another hilarious moment, Close told Pete Davidson and Variety that there's humor to be found in a late-in-life victory.

"It might be cool to never get one. I wouldn't mind being wheeled out when I'm old and drooling, and I have a gray wig to cover my bald head," she joked.

Though she may not have taken home an award at the 2021 ceremony, the 74-year-old won the night in the minds of many.

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